The Servants of Desire in Virginia Woolf’s Shorter Fiction proposes an insight into the ways in which Virginia Woolf engaged with the questions of how class influences working women’s occupation of private and public space and how material privilege or economic distress inhibits or encourages their likelihood of obtaining their intellectual, spiritual, and physical desires. This groundbreaking book uses class as the determining factor to assess how servants and working class women occupy private and public space and articulate or fail to realize their desires. Drawing upon published and unpublished holograph and typescript drafts of the shorter fiction in The Monks House Papers as well as the Berg Collection, this book examines Woolf’s oscillating patterns of elision, idealization, and contempt for the voices and desires of female servants, lesbians, gypsies, and other disenfranchised women.
The Servants of Desire in Virginia Woolf’s Shorter Fiction also assesses how the portrayal of working class women in the shorter fiction becomes a vital template for the representation of working class women in Woolf’s novels and essays. This study of the cumulative portrayal of the working class woman in all of Virginia Woolf’s shorter fiction will also be compelling for anyone interested in social justice, especially for advocates of equality in gender/race/class/sexuality conflicts.